Whether you’re having a relaxed Thanksgiving or an all-out traditional celebration, drones are the hot way to have some fun after the feast. The DJI Mavic Pro and the GoPro Karma are two of the best drones on the market right now – but which one gives you more bang for your buck?
Weighing in at…
The GoPro Karma folds flat to fit into its own backpack which is a cool feature, but it’s still over 50% of the weight of the DJI Mavic Pro (2.22 lbs vs 1.62 lbs). If weight matters, it’s a win for the DJI Mavic Pro – it’s so small it literally fits in the palm of your hand. But if the extra weight doesn’t put you off, the GoPro Karma has some other features which make it more than a match for its tiny competitor.
Ease of use
The DJI Mavic Pro needs to be attached to a camera and the menu is no picnic for newbies. The GoPro Karma’s remote has a built-in touchscreen that has great viewing angles even in bright sunlight, and a user-friendly interface that makes setup a breeze, though it doesn’t have the real granular control that drone pros delight in. We’re calling this one a win for the Karma, just.
Packing a punch
OK, now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty, and the Mavic Pro is the outright winner. The Mavic has a longer flight time – 27 minutes compared to a really pathetic 18 minutes for the Karma – plus it has a four mile flight range, which is twice what the Karma gets and it’s faster too (40mph vs 35mph for the Karma). If speed, range and flight time matter, this one’s a classic no-brainer because the Mavic is almost frighteningly agile in the air. On the plus side for the Karma it has some cool acrobatic moves like the dronie (a kind of airborne selfie) and the 360 orbit mode but we’ll take the Mavic’s superior flight capabilities, thanks.
Playing up for the camera
The really important difference between the Karma and the Mavic comes down to the camera and the fact that you’re getting a whole integrated adventure filmmaking system with the GoPro Karma. Detach the Karma’s 3-axis camera stabilizer, attach it to the Karma Grip and you have an excellent steadicam system that works with a standard GoPro mount for scarily smooth footage. If you already own a GoPro camera like the Hero5 Black then the Karma rig will run you around $800 as opposed to $1,300 for the Mavic with full accessories.
It all comes down to whether you value Mavic’s great design and flight or the Karma’s superior camera features. In this drone-off, the result may be just too close to call.